Back in 2009 two classic Doctor Who fans, the writer Robert Shearman and the comedian Toby Hadoke, set themselves an intimidating but admirable task: spend that year, when modern Who was only around in the form of a few specials, keeping a diary and commenting on every episode of the series. 2010 saw the release of the first volume of Running Through Corridors that went from the opening episode of An Unearthly Child up to The War Games, covering the 1960s. Now, some years later, comes this belated second volume that covers all of Pertwee’s run and the first 6 seasons of Baker’s Doctor.
Let’s start with the caveat that this book is for fans of Doctor Who. Maybe not as committed as Shearman and Hadoke, but still fans nevertheless and not those with a casual interest. This isn’t an episode guide in the traditional sense of relating plots and programme details.
So, if you are a fan what do you get? They start out the book by stating their mission is to look for the best in each story, even if it’s one they don’t remember fondly. This is no sarcastic review of Who’s history, but rather two friends with grown-up lives and responsibilities attempting to reconnect with what made them fans in the first place.
Equally, it’s no rose-tinted retconning of times where Who was in difficulties. But a good example of how this approach works is when dealing with the uneven season eight. At the same time as acknowledging that year’s difficulties it also concludes with their take on The Daemons, and even though they agree the ending doesn’t quite land their joyous celebration of the serial as a whole makes you want to go and revisit the DVDs straight after (this happens often).
We get considered takes on Pertwee’s innovative opener in Spearhead from Space and Baker’s crashing debut in Robot and commentary on a lot of truly classic Doctor Who, across two sometimes uneven but ultimately remarkable periods for the series. Even for every slightly (or occasionally very) dodgy story they find the best in it (say Delgado’s Master in The Claws of Axos for one). When Baker gets bored and indulgent later into his run they acknowledge it but still remain positive, usually always finding something good (be it a performance, a sequence or an idea) to remark upon.
You could imagine it’s just two lifelong fans trading thoughts via email, how much fun could that be for a wider audience? Well with these two a lot, as it happens, reminding you of why you love Doctor Who too. Warm, witty, funny and unapologetically enthusiastic, for fans it’s highly recommended.
RUNNING THROUGH CORRIDORS 2: ROB AND TOBY’S MARATHON WATCH OF DOCTOR WHO (THE 70S) / AUTHOR: TOBY HADOKE, ROBERT SHEARMAN / PUBLISHER: MAD NORWEGIAN PRESS / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 11TH